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Robert Frost

(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

A Soldier


He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled,
That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust,
But still lies pointed as it plowed the dust.
If we who sight along it round the world,
See nothing worthy to have been its mark,
It is because like men we look too near,
Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere,
Our missiles always make too short an arc.
They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect
The curve of earth, and striking, break their own;
They make us cringe for metal-point on stone.
But this we know, the obstacle that checked
And tripped the body, shot the spirit on
Further than target ever showed or shone.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Monday, December 22, 2014

Topic of this poem: soldier


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  • Rookie - 523 Points Gigi Levin (2/5/2014 3:58:00 PM)

    Hey Mr Poet Doctor... Are you sure you aren't his reincarnation? :) Sorry for the crude emoticon. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 523 Points Gigi Levin (2/5/2014 3:55:00 PM)

    Really touching... a fine tribute to the horrors of war. I wish Robert Frost were still alive. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mr.poet Dr (11/4/2013 11:05:00 PM)

    I interpret this poem as:
    The narrator is walking on the grounds of an ancient battlefield. He stumbles upon a weathered spear (lance) that is still stuck in the ground (don't ask me why the lance is still there, it just is) . Unlike most people who approach the spear and think nothing worthy of its target, the narrator sees that this spear is there for a reason, visioning the last seconds of a dying man's life at the end of this spear (his body rotted away long ago) .
    The narrator breaks his day dream and thinks about how men today are now shooting rockets at one another for the same reasons their ancestors threw that spear eons ago. He sees the rockets of today as the spears of tomorrow, future generations will see rocket parts lying around and wonder, What was so important that it had to result in killing and death? (They make us cringe for metal-point on stone)
    He relapses back into his daydream about the dying warrior. He now knows that there is something bigger at play here (But this we know, the obstacle that checked) . The spear that tripped the soldier's body, killing him, released his spirit. His spirit then moved into the next realm of existence (Heaven) which is further away than anything man can throw/launch at. In essences, the larger work at play here was that it was the soldiers destiny to die at that place at that exact time. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 378 Points Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/2/2013 4:25:00 AM)

    And we too some day like fallen lances
    Must so be till we too just lie and rust
    Marking the turf in a momentary wound
    Till we are buried properly to finally rest (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Murungu Kariuki (7/16/2013 3:32:00 AM)

    Frost having witnessed the first & second world war, as a poet was aware &made a point of pin-pointing on the trauma facing soldiers after war which to my view the society took no notice of, ...IT IS BECAUSE LIKE MEN WE LOOK TOO NEAR...
    A touchy poem that grasps on the effort & sacrifice of SOLDIERS! ...THEY FALL, THEY RIP THE GRASS, THEY INTERSECT...
    Frost to my opinion was giving his aknowledgment especially to the post-war soldier casualties, who at times are forgoten & neglected but they really left a legacy many wont dare! ...THAT LIES UNLIFTED NOW, COME DEW, COME DUST, BUT STILL LIES POINTED AS IT PLOWED THE DUST....
    Its not that the society isnt aware, ...BUT THIS WE KNOW, THE OBSTACLE THAT CHECKED, AND TRIPPED THE BODY, SHOT THE SPIRIT ON... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 261 Points Stephen W (2/13/2013 6:05:00 PM)

    We are all the soldier in this poem, the lance is every project into which we put our heart, which crashed into screeching failure, and afterward seemed as though it had always been pointless.
    He is saying that it wasn't pointless from a spiritual point-of-view (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 261 Points Stephen W (2/13/2013 5:56:00 PM)

    unlifted is correct, Abdallah is wrong to think it should be uplifted!
    I'm not sure this poem is about the military at all. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,391 Points Kevin Patrick (10/7/2012 2:12:00 PM)

    A very evocative work, that should be read and dissected by students in public schools, there is a romanticism about being a soldier, I feel this work balances that perspective, a great duty that comes to a high price (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Louis Def (9/26/2012 10:22:00 AM)

    Mr Frost, this poem is amazing. You speak to me, an antiwar activist, and remind me that I am anti-war, not anti-soldier. May God bless.

    And Melia, yes, I know Robert Frost is dead. Its called poetic license. ;) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Megz Slawson (9/9/2012 6:28:00 AM)

    i love this poem because its so true and i think people need to get respect for the soldiers and what they give up for the country. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Epic X (5/9/2012 3:06:00 PM)

    Carey Jobe im sorry for your dad diing a Soldier is a very ggod poem and should be respected ^-^ (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Epic X (5/9/2012 3:03:00 PM)

    i know but whatever! it does not madder very much, it is from robert frost! ! ! ! ! @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@#####################^^^ ^-^ (Report) Reply

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